Four Fists

A seed by: Alida Esmail
Project: Main Pool
Alida Esmail’s practice encompasses performance, choreography, teaching, and health research. She holds a Bachelor’s (major Contemporary Dance, minor Psychology) from Concordia University, a Master’s in Rehabilitation Sciences from Université de Montréal, and she is a Body Harmonics-certified Pilates teacher. Her dance education also includes a year in India at the Attakkalari Centre for the Movement Arts and Mixed Media learning Bharatanatyam and Kalarippayattu and extensive training in International Ballroom/Latin dance which she currently uses to help develop Liquid Lead Dancing, a gender-neutral approach to partner dancing. Alida has a keen interest for socially-engaged work and questioning topics related to her identity, ancestry, and community. In addition to her independent projects, she is also working on a collective project with hearing dance artist Sophia Wright, and Deaf theatre artist Hodan Youssouf. Alongside her performance career, Alida is also involved in innovative Arts and Health research which has been published in reputable peer-reviewed scientific journals.


Theatre, Interdisciplinary Arts, Dance, Arts for Social Change
This is an original seed

Seed Images --Click on the thumbnail to enlarge

This fist came out of the embodiment exercise during the Arrivals workshop in March 2023.  It occured at a moment when my great grandmother was tightly holding her walking child’s hand on the right side while holding another child on her left hip and moving about in space. The theme of hands came out in my group’s workshop and after rewatching some of the video footage I found myself compelled by this moment of my/my great grandmother’s hand. It also seemed to be compelling to the videographer, given that they zoomed in on it. There is something about the shape and configuration of my/her hand and fingers that calls to me. The fist exudes assertiveness and strength but curiously, not aggression – perhaps due to the placement of the thumb. 

Each rotation tells me a different story.

Holding…? Guarding…? Advocating…? Placing…? Giving…? Offering…? Taking…? Passing?

The circular pattern when all four images are placed together call out for community and growth as the imperfections in the image quality give birth to a beautiful flower. 

All of this resonates with who I know my great grandmother to be. 


(The original direction is in the top left corner.)

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